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St. Mary's Christian Episcopal Church History
St. Mary's Church History In Brief
St. Mary Mission was organized by Reverend Mrs. Mary Washington on August 25, 1935, in the home of Mrs. Mary Thomas, Sr. The Mission was admitted into the Oklahoma Annual Conference of the CM.E. Churches in November 1939. The presiding Bishop at the time of admission was the late Rt. Reverend J. A. Hamlett.
Times were hard and money was scarce at the time the Mission was in the process of being founded. There was a depression in progress and from there we were in the midst of WW II. Therefore each minister who served the church did so with great personal sacrifice. In spite of this, each made great contributions to the life and development of the church.
Reverend Mary Washington, founder and organizer of the Mission, served the first year at the salary of $27.00 and a suit of clothing made by Mrs. V. L. Mason. She appointed her famous "Look-Out Committee" and raised the money for the down payment on the purchase of the site at Northeast 4th and Kelham Streets.
Mother Hattie McKinney smiled as she told of the old building on that first site at N.E. 4th and Kelham. When it was purchased, it had been a hiding place for "bootleg" whiskey, a grocery store, a skating rink and a dance hall.
On January 6, 1970, a devastating fire destroyed the buildings on the property including the furnishings. The congregation was stunned but was not in despair. This seemed to draw us closer together. With the words of encouragement from Bishop Amos, Presiding Elder Lewers, along with the leadership of our Pastor, Reverend Thomas R. Norman and the help our many friends, we set about plans to rebuild.
We found a building which formerly housed a plumbing shop and began to hold worship services there. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." Through prayer and faith in God the impossible can be wrought. The miracle happened and the Urban Renewal Authority purchased our land. This, added to our small building fund, allowing us to purchase our present site at Eastern (now Martin Luther King Avenue) and Euclid.
November 19, 1972, Bishop Walter H. Amos officiated the Ground Breaking Ceremonies. Grand Opening and Laying of the Corner Stone Ceremonies were held February 10, 1974. Bishop Walter H. Amos, Presiding Prelate, Reverend S.D. Lewers, Presiding Elder and Reverend Thomas B. Norman was the Pastor. Other dedicated ministers who served the Saint Mary congregation were Reverend Goree L. James, Reverend Alonzo V. Brown and Reverend Lawrence P. Lakey.
In 1994, Reverend Thomas E. Ruffin was assigned to Saint Mary. Being an humble and dedicated Servant of the Lord, emphasis is placed on preaching and teaching God's Word. Through this ministry many local preachers and evangelists acquired wisdom and knowledge and the congregation is richly blessed.
In July 2012, Reverend Octavia Shennell Lindsey was assigned St. Mary’s. being a humble, prayerful, energetic, Servant of the Lord, emphasis is placed on Learning, Loving, and Leading. Rev. Lindsey is making strides to reach the outside community and loves ministry beyond the walls.